Returning to "Normal" with Industrial Applications

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



We’re nearly a third of the way through the year, and some – hopefully, most – of you should’ve gotten the COVID vaccine. More shots means a quicker return to normalcy – in-person meetings, trade shows, and this crazy notion called “human contact.”

Since Day 1, our industry was classified “essential,” so we weathered the storm relatively well. In fact, other than the global semiconductor shortage, we were spared most of the industrial fallout from COVID-19.

Still, even the biggest introvert (hiya!) longs for a social scene that doesn’t resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

And it’s with that meager shred of optimism that we dive into the April issue which, coincidentally, deals with an area that thrived precisely because of our “essential” status – industrial applications.

In fact, one of the articles, “Why Industrial IoT Needs Wi-Fi HaLow for Wireless Connectivity,” is the unofficial part 3 of a series that began in July 2020 (i.e., right in the heart of the pandemic). Last summer, the Chief Operating Officer of Morse Micro, Vahid Manian joined us on the PSDcast to discuss a Wi-Fi “HaLow” system-on-chip, which provides 10 times the range, 100 times the area, and 1000 times the volume of traditional Wi-Fi.

In September, Vahid followed that up with an article, “Everything You Need to Know About Wi-Fi HaLow,” and this month, he makes a convincing case for “Why Industrial IoT Needs Wi-Fi HaLow for Wireless Connectivity.” 

Vahid notes that Wi-Fi HaLow technology was recently standardized by the IEEE 802.11ah task group, and the rapid onset of the Internet of Things (IoT) has expedited the need for a better solution than standard Wi-Fi.

“Wi-Fi HaLow enables thousands of wireless battery-powered sensors and actuators to be securely connected to a single access point (AP), transforming IIoT as we know it,” Vahid says.

Over at Infineon, Dr. Michael Ebli goes in a very different direction with “Efficiency and Performance Considerations Prompt Redesign of Industrial Motors.”

Motors are extremely prevalent in industrial applications, making, as Dr. Ebli explains, “even small efficiency improvements significant both in terms of global energy consumption and in the operating budgets of many plants.”

IGBTs are a good option for motor drive applications and servo drives, but an increased demand for higher precision, faster acceleration rates, and low inertia has pushed designers towards a wide bandgap alternative.

And the final article I’d like to call out deals with another unique facet of industrial applications – millimeter-wave (mmWave) radar-based sensors.

In “Exploring Advancements in Industrial Markets with 60-GHz Radar,” Keegan Garcia with Texas Instruments discusses how mmWave sensors use radio frequency (RF) to operate in harsh environments and challenging conditions like blinding sunlight or complete darkness.

“mmWave radar sensors also deliver unique high-resolution sensing of range, velocity, and angle, and offer plug-and-play solutions … these advantages deliver endless possibilities for their use in industrial applications,” Keegan says.

Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD